Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Arcia ranks among best of AL rookie crop

Last season's American League rookie crop was one of the best in quite a long time. Mike Trout was in the discussion for MVP, Yoenis Cespedes helped to get the A's back to the playoffs, and Yu Darvish made a splash in the Rangers rotation. Even players like Manny Machado and Will Middlebrooks made an impact for their club.

This season has been a little bit of a let down in the Junior Circuit. The crop of rookies has been a little underwhelming but it would be tough to live up to last year's stellar class. That being said, some of the players in the current rookie crop have begun to stand out above the crowd.

Twins fans have been able to witness a very fine rookie season from one of their players. For some fans, it might not have been the man they thought it would be at the beginning of the year. Aaron Hicks started the season with the club but he ran into plenty of rookie bruises on the way to a poor start to the year. Oswaldo Arcia didn't start the year with the club but he has begun to shine.

It's hard to believe Arcia is only 22-years old because the rookie is putting up numbers higher than someone his age should be able to produce. Out of all of the players in the American League, Arcia is the second youngest to appear in a game this season. Only Detroit Tigers outfielder Avisail Garcia is younger by less than a month.

Here is where Arcia ranks compared to his other rookie counterparts.
HR: 6 (1st- tied)
RBI: 25 (1st)
2B: 10 (1st- tied)
OPS: .810 (3rd)

With injury concerns mounting for Josh Willingham, it is looking more and more like Arcia will have a permanent spot in the Twins line-up. Arcia has played in every game for the Twins since June 11 and his numbers have continued to get better during that time. He was hitting .255 at the beginning of June and he has his average up over .280. He hit five doubles and two home runs in the month.

Aaron Gleeman wrote a piece at his blog in June that discussed some of the best young hitters in Twins history. For age 22 players, Arcia now has the third highest OPS (.810) which is an improvement from where he was at the time of the article. The only players with a higher OPS in their age 22 season are Kent Hrbek (.848) and David Ortiz (.817). He ranks higher than Joe Mauer (.783) and Tom Brunansky (.753).

If Arcia keeps hitting well and hitting for power, there is a chance he could be at the top of this list by the end of the season. His batting average would need to continue to improve because his power swing will likely continue to be there. Next season will be harder for Arcia to crack into the best Twins players for his age. Joe Mauer had a .936 OPS as a 23-year old and Justin Morneau had a .875 OPS.

There is plenty of season left for Arcia to continue to rake against American League pitchers. He is already in the discussion for one of the best young hitters in Twins history. There is a chance for him to be in the running for the AL rookie of the year and there have only been four Twins to receive this award. The last Twins player to take home the honor was Marty Cordova in 1995.

Arcia might not have had the hype of a Miguel Sano or a Byron Buxton when he arrived in Minnesota but he is quickly turning into a solid player. He could be in the middle of the Twins line-up for years to come and fans should take notice of the great season he is putting together.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pedro Munoz had a .827 OPS in his rookie season at age 22 in 1991.